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>> Fined for hiking up the price of an epilepsy drug by 2,600%. Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer told to pay a record 84.2 million pounds by the British competition watchdog. The price of a 100 milligram packet of the capsules went from 2 pounds 83 pence in 2012 to 67 pounds 50 pence in 2013.
Annual spending of the drugs by the NHS rose from 2 million to about 50 million pounds. US drug maker Pfizer used to market the medicine under the brand name Epanutin but it sold the rights to Flynn, a privately owned British company in September 2012. It was then de-branded, so was no longer subject to price regulation.
Pfizer said the medicine had begun losing money, so it was forced to consider whether it could continue supplying it. Pfizer and Flynn fined 5.2 million pounds, both plan to appeal. The ruling comes amid a growing debate on both sides of the Atlantic, concerning the ethics of price hikes for off-patent medicines that are only made by a few companies and where there isn't much competition